Belief and Attitudes surrounding Childhood Autism in Ghana
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- Institutt for psykologi 
Autism is a life-long invisible impairment with an unknown etiology. Current literature shows an increase in the diagnosis of autism worldwide. This qualitative study explores the attitudes and beliefs which surround childhood autism in Ghana. In-depth interviews were conducted with four (4) parents whose children have autism and three (3) key informants; a Religious Leader, a Health Worker and an Administrator of a Special school in Accra, Ghana. A semi-structured interview guide was used for the interviews and the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) used for the data analysis. Results show that parents whose children have autism attribute the cause of autism to biological, environmental and to unknown factors. Parents and their children with autism relied on institutions for children with autism, family members and other non-relatives for support. It was indicated that the characteristics of autism, the cultural expectations from parents and their children as well as conflicting beliefs with regards to the appropriate intervention for the child with autism were major challenges. Parents employed behavior training and religious interventions to manage their children’s autism. Despite these approaches, parents are uncertain about the future of their children.